Men and grief can be a difficult relationship. Dr. Gloria Horsley talks with David Leonard of New Hope Grief Support based in Long Beach about his experience as a bereaved man. He says one of the biggest challenges is the stigma that men shouldn’t grief. They can hide things and stuff them inside, but the opposite needs to be done. There should be safe spaces for men where they can express themselves in a healthy manner. Coping mechanisms and skills need to be learned. For men, finding out what the gifts of the head, hands and heart are key.
Find outlets where you can use one of these three things. For Leonard, he found healing through volunteering as a camp counselor for grieving kids. Find where you connect. Exercise is another big healing tool for Leonard. He began running harder and faster during his grief. He moved from three miles to 10-12 miles “like it was nothing.” It’s a stress reliever and helps you to become human again after a loss.
Men and Grief
Starting in childhood, how you express your emotions helps mold who you are. Everyone is unique, but for men it can be particularly difficult to grieve. Healthy grieving is an important part of healing, and know that it can be a lifelong process. For men, Leonard says, it’s common to suffer in isolation. However, healing happens in community support.
That community might be a faith-based group, a baseball team, a grief support group, or another outlet. Know that others do care about your grief. Find resources in your community—there are many out there. For those in a rural area, online resources are readily available. Some people prefer online support groups, and it can be a fantastic way to find empathy and support through your grief.